Life moves so fast these days and we are constantly shifting and working to balance all the responsibilities we have: working, families, elder parents, 2nd jobs, laundry, exercising, shopping, eating, and the list goes on and on. It seems we never stop…. like little energizer bunnies we just keep moving! Along with the fast pace of life also comes changes that we are constantly dealing with; no wonder we are stressed out!
Take a quick second and think what your life was like 5 years ago? 1 year ago? 6 months ago? Our lives are constantly in motion and we experience change all the time around us. Often change is for the good yet sometimes it can be painful and a challenge. At a party on Saturday I heard about the following changes in peoples lives: one friend talked about how they had to drastically alter their diet due to medical reasons, another’s job was moving across the country and they were hoping their spouse would follow them, and yet another talked about buying a camper and were discussing how their weekends were now about going to campsites up and down the coast. All experienced changes that were affecting their lives: what they did, what they ate, where they lived and how they made a living.
Changes happen all around us! It is important to think about how we are responding to change….do we dig in our heels and refuse to shift? Do we totally stress out and wonder how we will ever make it through? Do we drink or eat too much or go shopping to cope with things that are changing? How can we deal with the shifting sands that are all around us and still maintain some sanity?
We all need to go through a change process when things affect our lives and relationships. How can we manage change as opposed to it managing us! We need to understand and answer the following questions in change situations:
- Why are things changing? Are there things happening internally or externally that require us to shift how we are doing things or thinking? Why does the status quo no longer work? Were there signs that this change has been coming for some time that we have ignored or not paid attention to?
- Where are we going? Where will the change get us to? What does that state look like? What is the vision of that future state? Is that place somewhere we want to be? How can we create the future state we want to experience?
- How will we get there? How can we make the future state a reality? What steps do we need to take to obtain our desired results?
- What choices do I have in this situation? Brainstorm and come up with all the choices you have in the situation, no matter how far fetched they may seem. Often we may not like or enjoy the choices we have, but we are still always able to choose the best possible choice we have.
Often change happens and we do not have control over what is happening, but we can always take control of our response to change. This can empower us to feel like we have a choice in the situation as opposed to feeling like a victim and that we have no choice in the matter. Responding to change is quite different then reacting to change.
- Reacting is not thinking and just letting our emotions, our anger or frustration, blaming others, or our knee jerk reaction to take control of our lives and emotions.
- Responding is using our emotional intelligence,digesting what is taking place, logically thinking about what opportunities and choices could be derived from the changes, understanding that change is constant and how can we respond to others in a way that keeps the relationship in tact.
Responding takes practice and work to accept changes that we have no control over and respond with respect, grace and awareness. But this requires that we have answered the questions above about the Why, the Where, the How, and the choices about the change. Whether we are applying this to business, projects or our family life we need to have an understanding and open communication about what is taking place to help us navigate through the changing environment.
I invite you to ask yourself these questions to help you understand what is going on before reacting on the fly to situations in front of you. Be conscious about the many changes that are happening around you and make choices about your life and avoid being a victim to the circumstances that surround you. Learning to respond to changes instead of reacting can change your life, your stress level, your relationships and your choices about what is possible!
This is not a dress rehearsal. Live life passionately. Engage your talent!Share